Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Live! Love! Lift!

Being in our sixties and all that, we receive frequent advertisements in the mail for this "health letter" and that one.  (We get a lot of ads for those little scooters, too.) Today we received an ad for ConsumerReports' onHealth Magazine.  Actually, it is more than a mere "ad."  It is a fifteen page, letter size, color publication in its own right, and features mini-articles with such titles as "BLUNT the effect of SALT in your body" (eat a banana) "Vitamin E helps protect your heart, right?  WRONG."

On page 7 is a piece entitled "Reset Your Joints to Grow New Cartilage: Simple strength exercises have been shown to spur the growth of new cartilage . . . and help ease the pain of arthritis."  Two exercises are featured, complete with a male model doing the exercises.  The two are basic Crossfit exercises.  In fact, we did both of them in our WOD today, the squat and what the article refers to as a "shoulder press," but what Crossfit calls a "dumbbell push press."

The squat, in fact, is an exercise that we practice on its own at almost every WOD, because it is a component of a number of important lifts, my favorite being the power snatch.  In this lift, you bring up the barbell from the floor, starting with your knees bent, your back in an arc toward the floor (the "lumbar curve"), your chest high (or "proud"), and, as you straighten your legs quickly, you sweep the bar up, close to  your body, lifting your shoulders in a sort of shrug and straightening your legs to a standing position.  Using the momentum of your legs straightening up and the shrug, you bring the bar shoulder high.  At that point, however, you flip your elbows under the bar and move quickly, deftly to a squat underneath it, so the bar remains at what was your shoulder level before you dropped under it into the squat.  Your arms are in a Y above your head, locked at the elbows, holding the bar.  Almost immediately you are standing back up, pushing upward from your heels, continuing to keep your elbows locked and the bar held high.  As you stand, you thrust your hips forward so that the momentum added by that movement keeps the bar exploding to the roof until - there you are, standing with this tremendous weight over your head.  The whole thing depends, for the most part, on that squat.  The power snatch is a beautiful thing to behold, if it is done right, and very satisfying to do.

For an example of the power snatch, gorgeously done, go to the Crossfit website, look at the demo page for "Crossfit Exercises" and scroll down to the "power snatch."  (Note that on the second lift, the athlete in the video gets herself well under the bar.  She talks with the coach about improving her lift that way after she finishes it the first time.)
We like Consumer Reports.  Maybe onHealth Magazine would be quite useful.

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